The Academic Quality and Standards Committee oversees the development and implementation of University policy on  quality assurance for programmes of study, including arrangements for the approval of new programmes (Validation) and the periodic review of existing programmes.  It also oversees the maintenance of the standards of University taught awards, including associated considerations such as the appointment and removal of internal and external examiners. The full scope of its responsibilities is summarised in the Terms of Reference of the Academic Quality and Standards Committee.
  • Professor Catherine Bachleda (Chair)


    Professor Catherine Bachleda is the Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the University of Gibraltar, responsible for the strategic direction of the University and for providing academic leadership.

    Over the past 35 years, Catherine has worked in North Africa, the Middle East, the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia in a variety of management, quality, and learning roles, in academia and in the service industries of health, law, and education.

    Over the course of her career, she has held leadership positions that include Chief Executive Officer of a leading accredited corporation providing executive and continuing education; Director of a small corporate law firm; Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs in an accredited American-Liberal Arts university located in Morocco; and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gibraltar. In these roles, she has provided leadership in strategic planning and implementation, quality assurance, staff performance management and development, programme design and implementation, resource allocation and statutory compliance. Committed to the concept of continuous improvement, she also possesses extensive experience in establishing accreditation-compliant processes and in business development.

    Catherine’s main research interests lie in the fields of consumer behaviour and services marketing, and she has been the recipient of an Outstanding Paper award in the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

    She holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Business Administration.

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  • Mr Will Bowen-Jones

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Will Bowen-Jones began his career at the University of Worcester in the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science (ISES), teaching on its under-and post-graduate sports programmes. This was quickly followed with course leadership of the sports studies and PGCE PE programmes, which he relinquished to take charge of Learning and Teaching in the Institute. He held this title from 2004 until 2013, while also adding the title of Head of Quality Enhancement and he was promoted to Associate Head in 2008. During his time in ISES he led a wide range of strategic enhancement initiatives, all of which were designed to improve the student experience. In recognition of his work he was made a Senior Teaching Fellow of the University in 2011.

    He is a regular presenter at UK national conferences (e.g. HEA, HEIR), where he also leads workshops on a range of initiatives. He attends key International Learning and Teaching Conferences, (e.g. EDULEARN and INTED) – not only as a presenter but also as Chair of conference symposia. Between 2013 and 2015 he took up a secondment to lead Educational Development across the University and now leads cross-University projects.

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  • Ms Fiona Crozier

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    A graduate in Modern Languages (University of Sheffield, 1988), Fiona has worked in higher education for 30 years. Her experience in quality assurance spans funding councils, universities and QA agencies. She works nationally and internationally in the field.

     Her experience includes the development, implementation and operationalisation of internal and external QA methods, training of reviewers and as chair and reviewer on reviews of agencies and institutions across the world. She was Vice-President of the Board of the European Association for Quality Assurance from 2009-2013.

     Her most recent post was Head of International at QAA UK; she is now an independent consultant. Examples of her recent projects include involvement in evaluations of processes and standards during the COVID-19 crisis in Georgia and Indonesia, providing training on internal and external QA to an Indonesian university on behalf of HEEACT (Tawian) and work on an institutional merger in Ireland. Her current work includes acting as an external advisor to a UK university as it undertakes the internal review of their teaching and learning, and the development of a set of standards for internal quality assurance for an overseas Higher Education Council. She has a strong interest in the articulation in the development and implementation of regional frameworks for QA such as the AQAF in ASEAN, the ASG in Africa and the ESG in Europe.

     She is a committee/Board member for two Spanish QA agencies: ACPUA (Zaragoza) and AQU (Catalunya).

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  • Dr Darren Fa

    Director of Academic Programmes & Research

    After obtaining a first-class honours degree in Education with QTS in 1990, Darren taught for ten years during which he read for and completed his PhD in Biological Oceanography at the University of Southampton. He then moved to the Gibraltar Museum in 1999 during which time he also read for a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Darren was then chosen to be seconded as part of the team that developed and implemented the roadmap for the creation of the University of Gibraltar, eventually joining its team as Director of Academic Programmes and Research in 2014.

    As well as authoring several popular books, Darren has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters mainly on ecological and archaeological subjects, and has been principal investigator on a number of EU and EFCHED funded projects, several of which received international awards. His primary research areas are in marine species ecology and conservation, palaeoecology, and human evolution and behaviour, especially the relationship between people and the sea in the past.
    He is responsible for all the academic research that takes place under the aegis of the University, and is a member of the University’s Research and Research Degrees Committee as well as its Academic Board. He is also directly responsible for the development and delivery of a number of its academic programmes, having personally written the specifications for the MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change and the University’s flagship PhD programme.

    Amongst other things, Darren is a member of HMGoG’s statutory Nature Conservancy Council, Climate Change Committee and Scientific Diving Committee, as well as member of the UNESCO WHS Gorham’s Cave Complex Action Forum. He is an appointed mentor on the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort and European Commission Expert on Environment and Higher Education. He is a registered Scientific Diver, a Chartered Biologist by the Royal Society of Biology and Elected Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. He is married with three daughters and somehow finds time to dive, ride and play music when he can.”

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  • Dr Geraldine Finlayson

    Research Fellow

    Geraldine has been an active researcher for over thirty years, during which time she has authored or co-authored over sixty peer-reviewed publications, and has presented over thirty papers at international conferences.

    Her PhD thesis awarded by Anglia Ruskin University was ‘Climate, Vegetation and Biodiversity – a multiscale study of the south of the Iberian Peninsula’.

    She also holds an MSc in Museum Studies.

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  • Professor Ann Holmes

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Professor Ann Holmes has an emeritus professorship in Law awarded by the University of Wolverhampton where she held the post of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) until September 2014. Following her retirement from the University she continues to undertake a variety of work for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) which has responsibility for assuring the quality and standards of higher education institutions, public and private, in England and Wales.

    She also works as an independent consultant advising higher education institutions on a range of matters, including preparing them for QAA review, Degree Awarding Powers, and Overseas review. She continues to write in the field of employment law and is preparing the 11th edition of Cases & Materials on Employment Law with Professor Richard W Painter, as well as contributing to a book on the impact of quality on libraries and associated resource.

    She is a member of the Academic Board (Arden University), Programme Scrutiny Committee ( Goldsmiths), and Teaching Committee (Westminster University). Professor Holmes is also an external assessor for the  Employment Law programmes at University of East Anglia (UEA).

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  • Mr Derfel Owen

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Derfel Owen’s career has been spent in student-facing roles. Following a period working in students’ unions in 2007, Derfel joined the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) where he led efforts to improve student engagement and participation in the agency’s work, but also to raise the profile of student views and expectations in shaping and developing activities. In 2011 Derfel moved to work at the University of Exeter and in 2014 joined UCL where he was responsible for the governance structures of the University, leading the development of academic policies, complaints and appeals, student engagement, quality assurance and enhancement and student data. In 2023 he moved to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to take up the position of Director of Education Services.

    Derfel is recognised as a leading authority on student engagement and quality assurance, he has spoken at numerous international conferences and recently co-edited The Student Engagement Handbook: Practice in Higher Education.

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  • Professor Jon Scott

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Jon is a higher education consultant with extensive current experience in quality assurance and developing practice in learning and teaching. His most recent academic role was as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) at the University of Leicester where he now holds an emeritus chair in Bioscience Education.

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  • Professor Samantha Smidt

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Sam is a physicist by background but moved gradually into science education and education development. She spent many years at the Open University before moving to UCL in 2016 and is now Academic Director of King’s Academy at King’s College London since September 2022.

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  • Ms Emilia Todorova

    Academic Quality & Learning Senior Manager

    As Academic Quality and Learning Senior Manager, I am responsible for leading on the University’s quality assurance and enhancement activities. I work with staff across the University to ensure that quality is maintained and developed across all areas, and that we deliver a fantastic student learning experience. I work both internally and manage any external quality assurance activities that the University is subject to. I have a specific focus on enhancement activities and developing the student learning experience.

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